Second Life

[tsl/leadership] Kicking off the new year of POC in Second Life 

Time has flown since the end of the summer started creeping up on us here at GK and we were thrust into the new school year, and I've barely gotten a moment to step back and let the blogosphere know about some of the great stuff that's been going on. One of the exciting things that I'd like to share is the kick off the third year of the Power of Citizenry in Second Life program, alternately known as the Second Life Internship Progam.

[tsl/leadership/teen] This is me, Lee 

Hey folks. This is Lee Soothsayer here and i'm just going to go over the things that I enjoy! For starters, i'm not in the Teen Grid much longer. I unfortunately have to make the switch to the Main Grid in early January but i'm looking forward to the couple months ahead! A little about myself: I love to make stuff. I may not be as good as the next guy but I do enjoy making things. I enjoy making houses, shirts, gestures, and hopefully a few more things in the future (other than scripting, i'll never get it, lol). Then ontop of that, I have made an impact in Secondlife with many different groups. I haven't been a big player in anything yet and continue to keep it that way as I don't need to be popular to know i'm a good guy. Finally, I would love to talk about a few things as well. I'd like to blog about 2012 and if it's possible, but not an open discussion yet though as the proof hasn't proved anything just yet. Then, I quite enjoy politics now, so if you'd like to talk about it, i'm not very educated in the subject but I would love to chat! Then, i've got a good thing for global issues as well. Anything global that deserves to be noticed as an issue or maybe just something good to talk about, I will make any event on! Other than that guys, this is me, Lee.


Tonight Global Kids hosted a presidential debate watching party in Teen Second Life.  We had a very good turnout of about 28 teens, several of whom stayed for the entire 90 minutes -- which is asking a lot of a teenager on a school night.  Pretty much every single one of them was an Obama supporter.  Still we had a good discussion and debate on the issues that I think helped them to think more broadly about the political process in America.

Overall it gave me hope about virtual worlds being the public sphere in a digital age. More comments and quotes from the teens follow...

We used the fireside chat area of of Global Kids island, which is a great informal space to have these kinds of discussions. It's hard to be too stressed and uptight sitting around a campfire!  One of our interns Mat helped decorate the space by putting up a bunch of American flags and buttons for each of the six sets of candidates on the ticket. 

[SL] Dialing into Virtual Worlds 

Hamlet Au posted a recent article covering Switchboard on his news site New World Notes.

Dialing Out: Non-Profit Develops Technology That Converts Second Life Chat To African Cellphone Text Messaging

Texting_systemThis is Switchboard, an SL-based mash-up technology created by NYC-based Global Kids. What it does, explains staffer Rik Riel, is convert chat messages in Second Life into SMS text messages sent to someone's cellphone, and back again. In this particular demo, several Teen Second Lifers are communicating with a girl in Uganda, who's using her mobile to discuss how Africa's AIDS crisis has ravagaged her family.

This is a powerful innovation for several reasons beyond even that powerful use case.

Read the entire post here.

Alexander asks Victoria a question using Switchboard
The screenshot here is kind of hard to parse so let me describe it. A young person (represented by the green furry) in Teen Second Life is composing a text message to send to another teen in Uganda that she will recieve on her cell phone as an SMS message.  Meanwhile my avatar (the purple robot) sits atop the chat history represented by floating text and blue bubbles that rise higher as each new message is sent.  This remarkable exchange from the virtual world to a regular cell phone is made possible by the grey device behind the bubbles, a tool we call "Switchboard."

A little background after the jump...

Today Shawna and I organized a very special workshop and discussion on
AIDS in Africa.  About a dozen teens converged on Global Kids Island in Teen Second Life to participate in the event.

[SL] Global Newswire covers release of SL curriculum 

During the Los Angeles Virtual Worlds conference, Global Newswire picked up the release of our new SL curriculum in their Public Affairs Newsline.

NEW YORK, Sept. 2, 2008 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- On September 3rd, Global Kids' Online Leadership Director Barry Joseph will speak to leaders in digital media and education at the Virtual Worlds Conference and Expo held at the Los Angeles Convention Center. Joseph will showcase the launch of Global Kids Second Life Curriculum -- the most significant resource in 2008 for those educators interested in incorporating virtual worlds into their classrooms.

The conference, on the theme of The Future of Media and Communications, will take place on September 3rd and 4th and feature such keynote speakers as Collin J. Parris, Ph.D., Vice President of Digital Convergence at IBM Research; and Steve Parkis, Senior Vice President of Disney Online.

[conf] GK presenting en force this week! 

So for any of you out there that are fans of our work, be sure to catch us this week at two of the hottest virtual world events of the immediate post-summer, Virtual Worlds Expo and the Second Life Community Convention/SLED Community Conference . Over these two conferences we'll be presenting a total of (gasp) six times, with over a half dozen of us diligently working on our powerpoints and interactive workshops at this very moment.

Full details of our dance card after the jump!

At the Virtual Worlds Expo in Los Angeles:

Best Practices for Education in Virtual Worlds

Thursday, September 4, 2008 - 11am -12 pm PDT

Today, Global Kids’ Online Leadership Director Barry Joseph will speak to leaders in digital media and education at the Virtual Worlds Conference and Expo held at the Los Angeles Convention Center to be followed on the following Saturday, September 5th, with Joseph providing the educational keynote at the annual Second Life Community Convention in Tampa, Florida. At both, Joseph will showcase the launch of Global Kids Second Life Curriculum — the most significant resource in 2008 for those educators interested in incorporating virtual worlds into their classrooms.

Global Kids Second Life Curriculum, available the first week of September at, contains over 160 lesson plans for teaching the basics of Second Life, whether in a classroom, a library, or at home. The curriculum is available at no cost and is designed to be adaptable by practitioners for a variety of uses, from teaching science, to literature to global studies.

The full press release follows...

[Conf] Children and Electronic Media: Teaching in the Technological Age 

As part of the panel on Professional Development and Technology, held May 2, 2008 at the Princeton University, Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Barry Joseph talked about teaching in the technological age.

[sl/intern/teen] Volunteerism and You! 

Hey everyone! My name is Vicky and I was a Global Kids Intern this year. Some fun things about me include, my pink highlights, the fact that I am a twin, and that I enjoy ranting about just about anything.

Awareness of Global issues, both small and large is something very close to my heart. Often what I saw with the teens on the island is the fact global issues are something they (fellow gk loving teens) care about as well, but they were unsure what to do to begin “fixing” the problem.

So on April 20, 2008 I ran the event “Volunteerism and You!” with the direct intention of not only discussing why volunteering is so important but also to give the teens the resources they need to begin volunteering themselves.

To understand what the teens felt on volunteering in the first place I decided to use the ever-popular “Human Barometer” platform. My three statements were:
o Teenagers should volunteer the time they have now because they might not have it later.
o Volunteer work is important for social progress to be made.
o Volunteering is successful even if no one notices or only one life is changed.